How to Block Spam or Phishing Emails

You have probably received emails from people you know or don’t know that appear to be spam or a phishing, i.e. asking you for money or gift cards, etc.

Don’t respond to emails from people you don’t know. If they appear to be someone you know, check their email carefully. It’s probably a deviation from their real email address. Take, for example, the recent phishing email that appears to come from Rev. Rachael Hayes. Her real email is revrachael-at- uusocietyamherst.org. Here I’m using the characters “-at-” to substitute for the symbol @ to fool bots that capture email addresses on the web. I recently received an email that appeared to be from her, but the email address was revrachael.uusocietyamherst-at-gmail.com. Note that this email came from gmail.com, not uusocietyamherst.org.

Rules to follow:

  1. Don’t respond to emails from people you know or don’t know that appear to be spam or phishing attempts.
  2. Definitely don’t click on any documents or links in these emails.
  3. Don’t trash these emails, but block them or mark them as spam. How this is done varies by your email provider. On Mac mail for example, I can block senders simply by right clicking on their email address and selecting block. Find out how to do this with your email provider. Check their website for details.
  4. Report phishing attempts to your email provider.
  5. If you do get spam or phishing email from someone you know and it appears that the email address is correct, their email address has probably been high-jacked. Let them know by forwarding the email to them, preferably at another email address if they have one.
  6. If your email address is high-jacked and someone is using your email address to send spam or phishing emails, change your password immediately, then make sure you have 2-step authentication enabled to further protect your email account. Talk to your email provider to learn how to turn on 2-step authentication.

The email server that we use at the UUSA is guarded by high security and it’s very unlikely that an email address from uusocietyamherst.org will be high-jacked and used for spam or phishing. Janis Gray and I have worked on the UUSA website to scrub email addresses from the site to hopefully reduce the number of times that you are contacted with spam or phishing schemes. If you have any questions or want to forward suspicious emails to me, feel free to do so.

Steve Rice Webmaster-at-uusocietyamherst.org

Editor’s note: For the same reasons outlined by Steve, we are no longer including our members’ email addresses as hyperlinks in this newsletter, so that we may reduce phishing attempts and continue to post the newsletter on our website.

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